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Our History

history-11999 – A group of landowners forms the TGBPEA. The Association’s purpose is to demonstrate effective stewardship of natural resources through private, voluntary, collaborative efforts, within a context of sustainable economic and social activities and the preservation of cultural values.

2001 – The Association hosts its first symposium to gather and present what is currently known about the history, ecology, and economy of the Thunder Basin region.

2002 – The Association incorporates as a non-profit organization.

2003 – The Association begins an in-depth baseline assessment of a one million acre pilot area, examining current habitat conditions and wildlife populations.

2004 – The Association hosts its second symposium to present a draft of the Association’s ecosystem management plan and gather additional information.

2004 – The Association receives technology and conservation awards from the National Grasslands Council.

2006 – The Association begins annual vegetation monitoring.  By 2014, the Association has established over 600 permanent transects on a variety of ecological sites.

2006 – The Association begins annual wildlife monitoring.  In 2014, the Association is gathering data on sage-grouse, mountain plovers, burrowing owls, ferruginous hawks and other raptors, black-tailed prairie dogs and other species of interest.

2006-2007 – The Association conducts a series of research studies to determine the relative benefits of fire, interseeding, herbicide, and prescribed grazing practices as management tools.

2008 – The Association begins a series of large-scale herbicide applications for annual brome (cheatgrass) control.  By 2014, over 35,000 acres have been treated for cheatgrass control.

2009 – The Association hosts its first agency meeting, bringing together Association members and representatives from interested federal, state, and local agencies, to share information and discuss common goals.

2009 – The Association begins working the development of a landscape scale, incentives-based conservation strategy, working in conjunction with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

2010 – The Association receives the Excellence in Rangeland Stewardship Award from the Society for Range Management-Wyoming Section.

2010 – The Association receives the Grasslands Prairie Partner Award from the National Grasslands Council.

2012 – The Association receives the Citizen’s Conservation Achievement Award from The Wildlife Society-Central Mountains and Plains Section.

2013 – The Association begins a long-term partnering effort with the USDA-ARS Rangeland Resources Research Unit (Cheyenne, Wyoming) to develop new knowledge about ecological processes in the Thunder Basin region and apply this knowledge to improved management for production and conservation objectives.  Initial research focuses on addressing fire behavior and associated impacts on vegetation. The Association submits the full conservation Strategy to the US Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS).

2014 – Research efforts are expanded through creation of the Thunder Basin Research Initiative (TBRI), a cooperative effort among the Association, USDA-ARS Rangeland Resources Research Unit, and the University of Wyoming.  The conservation Strategy undergoes major revision based on initial FWS and solicitor review.

2015 – Colorado State University joins the TBRI and a Thunder Basin wide research coordination meeting is held in conjunction with USDA-Forest Service.  Review of the conservation Strategy by FWS continues.

2016 - Final changes are made to the conservation Strategy documents and they are published in the Federal Register for public comment.

2017 - Signing of the final conservation Strategy document takes place on March 18 and implementation begins.

2018 - Boise State University joins the TBRI and research focusing on social science issues begins.

2019 - The Association is honored as the University of Wyoming College of Agriculture & Natural Resources Outreach Partner of the Year.